The One Year Bible Reading for today, Saturday May 12, is 1 Samuel 12:1- 3:23, John 7:1-30, Psalm 108:1-13 and Proverbs 15:4. The passage from this reading that I have chosen to focus on today is 1 Samuel 13:10-12.
Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, but Samuel said, ‘What is this you have done?’ Saul replied, ‘I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. So I said, The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the LORD’s help! So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.’ – 1 Samuel 13:10-12 (NLT)
Saul (the newly anointed king Israel) was in a tough spot as he waited for the prophet Samuel. He was about to go to war and his men were frightened. Saul hoped that the arrival of the prophet Samuel to confer God’s blessing on his troops would bolster their courage but Samuel was late and his men were deserting him in large numbers. Finally he made a bold decision: he would make an offering to God on his own and his men would be reassured.
This may not seem like a big deal to us. But, as Doreen Virtue pointed out last night, in her summary of today’s One Year Bible reading, Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin not Levi and only Levites were allowed to sacrifice to God. Under the old covenant, anyone not of the tribe of Levi who made a burnt offering to God had committed a grave transgression punishable by death.
So why did Saul do this?
Saul knew, of course, that what he was doing was wrong. He knew that he was supposed to wait for the prophet. But he was desperate. Filled with anxiety, he did not wait on Samuel or on God. His lack of faith in God’s timing caused him to force something that should not have been forced. As a result, in the next passage, Samuel goes on tell Saul that his kingdom would not endure and another man after God’s own heart would eventually displace him.
Waiting on God’s timing is something I have struggled with on many occasions. Leaving the New Age and the warm fuzzy bubble of spiritual deception has ratcheted up my natural tendency to worry – about everything! So I can sympathize with Saul. Probably we all can.
The most important thing to remember, however, is that when God makes us wait there is always a reason. Delays don’t mean that God isn’t listening or that he is subjecting us to some kind of test. It means that he is working on our request. Things are happening in the supernatural, as a good friend recently reminded me, even if we can’t see them. And when conditions are right our prayers will be answered.
This is isn’t to say that the answer will always be yes. But I have seen enough prayers answered to know that God does act – and that, at times, that action is downright miraculous.
I think that one of the reasons that 1 Samuel 13:10-12 spoke to me is because I have been worrying about things and feeling a little bit desperate at times myself. Like Samuel, trust in God’s timing or big picture plan doesn’t always come easily for me. For me, this passage is a reminder that if we want God to guide us we have to give him the reins.
We don’t know why Saul’s desperate act undermined the future of his kingdom. And we aren’t told what God’s Plan A was. Maybe a victory with just the handful of men that would have been left if he hadn’t made the sacrifice would have increased Saul’s own faith and made him a more Godly ruler. Maybe such an unexpected victory would have guaranteed the respect of the people. Maybe it would have been a little of both and maybe such a foundation would have endured.
But that is just guesswork. The real takeaway for me is that when it comes to trusting God we need to trust him with all our heart and all our soul and all our might, no matter how desperate we are. This I will work on <3
Heavenly Father. Thank you for all the times you have answered my prayers and proved yourself to me. I know that you hear me and that even when I can’t see you moving things are happening in the supernatural which will bring out the best result for me. I believe in Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God…” But I don’t always live my life as if I believe it. Please help me to replace worry with Scripture and anxiety with prayer and to wait on you with faith, hope and joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Tomorrow’s One Year Bible reading for Sunday May 13 is 1 Samuel 14:1-52 (and it is getting good!), John 7:31-53, Psalm 109:1-31 and Proverbs 15:5-7.
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